‘I forgive him:’ Ocala mom reacts after daughter shot, killed in friend’s car

State attorney’s office to review evidence to see if ‘stand your ground’ defense justified

OCALA, Fla. – Family and friends of 23-year-old Sonja Stahl gathered in Ocala to celebrate the young mom’s life after she was shot and killed over the weekend.

“It’s so hard because now my girl is gone and now I feel empty,” Katie Stahl said. “I expected to be gone first, not my children before me.”

Early Sunday morning, deputies said, Sonja Stahl was sitting in a car when her friend, 22-year-old Alexa Newton confronted an ex-boyfriend for child support at a home on 56th street in Ocala. Timothy Mack,24, told deputies Newton became violent, then tried to hit him with her car. That’s when deputies said he shot at the car, trying to stop the engine in self-defense.

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“The bullet hit Sonja in her chest. She was an innocent bystander, she was sitting in the car,” Katie Stahl said.

Investigators said the bullet is what ended Sonja Stahl’s life.

“She was spontaneous, she was outgoing and had a good heart,” Katie Stahl said.

Sonja Stahl leaves behind her 3-year-old daughter Ariana. The family started a GoFundMe account to help raise money for funeral expenses and a savings account for Ariana.

Mack was on probation for a prior felony charge and was arrested for possession of a firearm by a felon and tampering with evidence.

Newton was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and battery.

“I have to forgive in order to move on because you can’t hold grudges like that,” Katie Stahl said. “I forgive him, but there should be justice.”

The State Attorney’s Office will be reviewing the evidence to see if the stand your ground defense is justified in this case.

About the Author:

Crystal Moyer is a multimedia journalist who joined the News 6 team in February 2020. Crystal comes to Central Florida from WKMG’s sister station, WJXT in Jacksonville, where she worked as a traffic anchor and MMJ.